David Blackburn

The Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets

The Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets
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Andrew Gilligan explains why Lutfur Rahman’s victory in Tower Hamlets is a potentially alarming development. Obviously, this is a humiliation for Ed Miliband. The victory of a de-selected Labour councillor is bad enough, but what does he say about Ken Livingstone’s involvement in Rahman’s campaign? Widening those imploring eyes, offering an apologetic shrug and saying "Ken will be Ken" probably won’t cut the mustard this time.

Perversely, Livingstone might benefit from Rahman’s victory, as it has allowed him to resuscitate his ‘Red Ken the insurgent’ pose – and you can’t get much more cynically subversive than this latest stunt. Questions will and should be asked of his close association with an ally of the Islamic Forum for Europe, to say nothing of Rahman’s alleged campaign irregularities. Logically this should damage Livingstone, but the areas from where he will draw his support are not really like Tonbridge Wells.